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Risk-Based Early Warning System for Pluvial Flash Floods: Approaches and Foundations

Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, RWTH Aachen University, 57074 Aachen, Germany
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Geosciences 2019, 9(3), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9030127
Received: 11 February 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue River, Urban, and Coastal Flood Risk)
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Abstract

In times of increasing weather extremes and expanding vulnerable cities, a significant risk to civilian security is posed by heavy rainfall induced flash floods. In contrast to river floods, pluvial flash floods can occur anytime, anywhere and vary enormously due to both terrain and climate factors. Current early warning systems (EWS) are based largely on measuring rainfall intensity or monitoring water levels, whereby the real danger due to urban torrential floods is just as insufficiently considered as the vulnerability of the physical infrastructure. For this reason, this article presents a concept for a risk-based EWS as one integral component of a multi-functional pluvial flood information system (MPFIS). Taking both the pluvial flood hazard as well as the damage potential into account, the EWS identifies the urban areas particularly affected by a forecasted heavy rainfall event and issues object-precise warnings in real-time. Further, the MPFIS performs a georeferenced documentation of occurred events as well as a systematic risk analysis, which at the same time forms the foundation of the proposed EWS. Based on a case study in the German city of Aachen and the event of 29 May 2018, the operation principle of the integrated information system is illustrated. View Full-Text
Keywords: flash flood; pluvial flooding; urban flood; early warning system; multifunctional information system; flood risk assessment; hazard analysis; real-time information system; hydrodynamic numerical model; urban flood modelling flash flood; pluvial flooding; urban flood; early warning system; multifunctional information system; flood risk assessment; hazard analysis; real-time information system; hydrodynamic numerical model; urban flood modelling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Hofmann, J.; Schüttrumpf, H. Risk-Based Early Warning System for Pluvial Flash Floods: Approaches and Foundations. Geosciences 2019, 9, 127.

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